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The Path to the Playoffs: Six Games to Go

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MLS: New York Red Bulls at Vancouver Whitecaps FC Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Timbers did not do themselves any favors in Saturday’s 3-1 loss to FC Dallas, failing to bring home a road point for the 14th time this season and losing control of their playoff destiny. Of course, a road loss to the best team in the league comes as no surprise, and looking at the remainder of the Timbers’ schedule, reaching the playoffs still looks like a very attainable goal.

Just like last week, it appears that there are five teams in the Western Conference who are fighting for the 5th and 6th place spots in the West: the Timbers, Sporting Kansas City, the San Jose Earthquakes, the Seattle Sounders, and the Vancouver Whitecaps. Let’s take a look at where each stands after another week has ticked by.


5. Sporting Kansas City

38 Points, 28 Games Played

Results Last Week: None

vs. Houston Dynamo (0.96), vs. LA Galaxy (1.57), at San Jose Earthquakes (1.23), at New England Revolution (1.07), at Real Salt Lake (1.57), vs. San Jose Earthquakes (1.23)

Average Opposition Points Per Game: 1.27 (Up 0.01)

6. Portland Timbers

35 Points, 28 Games Played

Results Last Week: 3-1 Loss to FC Dallas

vs. Real Salt Lake (1.57), vs. Philadelphia Union (1.43), at Houston Dynamo (0.96), at Colorado Rapids (1.65), vs. Colorado Rapids (1.65), at Vancouver Whitecaps (1.11)

Average Opposition Points Per Game: 1.40 (Down 0.09)

By losing to FC Dallas, the Timbers have left a window open for both the Earthquakes and the Sounders to pass them up. Both teams have two games in hand on the Timbers and are in position to make a play for the 6th place spot. Still, that was not an unexpected outcome against the league-leaders, leaving the Timbers with a slate of lesser sides to finish out the season against, reflected in their big drop in opposition points per game.

7. San Jose Earthquakes

32 Points, 26 Games Played

Results Last Week: None

vs. Seattle Sounders (1.19), at Colorado Rapids (1.65), vs. Sporting Kansas City (1.36), at Montreal Impact (1.37), vs. Real Salt Lake (1.57), at Colorado Rapids (1.65), vs. Vancouver Whitecaps (1.11), at Sporting Kansas City (1.36)

Average Opposition Points Per Game: 1.41 (Down 0.03)

Despite the ‘Quakes opposition points per game dropping, the side is now showing that they — not the Timbers — have the most difficult remaining schedule by that metric, facing off against current playoff sides in six of their eight remaining matches and taking on two potential playoff contenders — the Sounders and Whitecaps — in the other two.

8. Seattle Sounders

31 Points, 26 Games Played

Results Last Week: None

at San Jose Earthquakes (1.23), vs. Vancouver Whitecaps (1.11), at LA Galaxy (1.57), vs. Chicago Fire (1.00), at Vancouver Whitecaps (1.11), vs. Houston Dynamo (0.96), at FC Dallas (1.82), vs. Real Salt Lake (1.57)

Average Opposition Points Per Game: 1.30 (Down 0.01)

The Sounders will have a big three pointer this week as they head to San Jose to take on the Earthquakes. A draw in this one seems like the best possible outcome for the Timbers, hopefully keeping both sides from gaining momentum in their push to grab on to the sixth place spot.

9. Vancouver Whitecaps

31 Points, 28 Games Played

Results Last Week: 1-0 Loss to New York Red Bulls

at Columbus Crew (1.00), at Seattle Sounders (1.19), vs. Colorado Rapids (1.65), vs. Seattle Sounders (1.19), at San Jose Earthquakes (1.23), vs. Portland Timbers (1.25)

Average Opposition Points Per Game: 1.25 (Down 0.06)

The Whitecaps seem to have the weakest remaining schedule of this group, but their six remaining games start off with an away match against a Crew side that have looked dead in the water or potentially resurgent, depending on the match.